Daily: Amazon to release a smartphone in 2013

I have been predicting that Amazon would launch a smartphone in 2013 for some time. And now we have more evidence that this is going to happen. See my September post “Is the Amazon Phone a Boon or Threat for Google and Android?” for when I first broached this.

The reason asking about Google and Android was the most pertinent question was because it is clear that Amazon is a threat for iOS and the iPhone. They sell at cost. And that puts downward pressure on prices, which should be particularly worrisome to Apple since it is the most profitable manufacturer with the highest average selling price.

But Amazon uses a heavily-customised fork of the Android operating system, which makes Apps purchased on other Android phones also usable on Amazon’s hardware. That’s great for Amazon because it gives them an instant library of Apps to choose from instead of having to suffer from a dearth like Nokia on WIndows Phone. So for Android, it’s great to have one more manufacturer. Yet, on the other hand, the skin that Amazon puts on its devices means that Google loses complete cotrol of the Amazon devices in the Android ecosystem. No revenue accrues to Google there. And that puts Google in the IBM role for the mobile space if you want a comparison to the PC world.

Here’s the news: 

Amazon.com is reportedly preparing to launch its own smartphone next year.

The Seattle-based online retailer will launch a device in the $100-to-$200 price range in the second or third quarter of 2013, according to a recent report by Taiwan Economic News.

According to the report, the Amazon phone will be manufactured by Foxconn, one of the companies that assemble Apple products, including the iPhone.

An Amazon smartphone has been rumored since 2011, when the company began making acquisitions and hires that seemed to foreshadow a smartphone was on the way.

Amazon already sells tablets and e-readers, so the idea of a smartphone is not far-fetched.

Additionally, the report says Amazon is also already working on its next generation of Kindle Fire devices. The next Amazon tablet will go on sale during the third quarter of 2013, according to the report.

This sounds pretty credible to me. I would have expected a launch that comes later to take advantage of the holiday season. But it’s early days yet. Now, the Kindle Fire HD is a good device. It proves that Amazon is moving up the curve to become a real threat to Apple. And if they release a killer phone at cost or below, given the unexpectedly huge demand we have seen for the Google Nexus 4, which is priced at half the cost of other unlocked Android phones, we can surmise that a decent Amazon phone will have enormous retail appeal.

I should also point out that the Android product cycle is relentless. HTC’s rumoured M7 flagship phone has all the bells and whistles and a 4.7 inch screen that is even better than the iPhone in pixel density, meaning you get a larger phone screen size and sharper images at the same time. Look at the article on this below. This tells you where the mobile space is headed. And the answer is away from Apple.

PS – I should point out that while I was bearish on Apple, I was more neutral on the stock. Call it a hold. I wasn’t predicting a share price rout in September when I wrote about Apple’s eroding share that “in the short term, this has meant and may continue to mean nothing for Apple’s share price given its market darling status. But as the slowdown in earnings growth takes shape in 2013, I expect Apple’s shares to wilt. And given Apple’s size, this will have a profound impact on market psychology and internals.” The sell off just after I wrote this was particularly violent and foreshadows a more major rout to come that I anticipate.

PPS – Two foreign links to pay attention to are one for Spain showing loss of mobile line contracts, something very unusual in an advanced economy. This highlights how dire the economy is. The second is a link in French from a Belgian newspaper on India growing below 6% this year, 2012%.


HTC M7 gets detailed: 4.7-inch 1080p display, 13MP camera, 2GB RAM, Sense 5, and more

“The HTC M7 is rumored to be unveiled at this year’s Mobile World Congress in February at which point will learn more on this legendary device”

Why many are unlikely to switch to Windows Phone or BlackBerry 10 — Mobile Technology News

“Current Windows Phone 8 and upcoming BlackBerry 10 handsets look great, but will people switch? Not likely, and even first-time smartphone owners may balk. It’s a perfect example of old phrase, “timing is everything” as most smartphone innovation has already taken place.”

Android growth prior to iPhone 5 launch further established market dominance

“Smartphones running Android saw double-digit marketshare gains in the third quarter as Apple’s iOS lost substantial ground, leading one analyst to question whether Google’s OS could be in a position to take over the entire market.”

Apple, strategists and the proprietary software problem | FT Alphaville

“key to Apple’s market share position is the company’s ability to drive consumers to its ecosystem. Our survey doesn’t support that consumers broadly find this to be important, although it is more important for Apple customers.In general consumers are indifferent with regard to having a common operating system across devices with 54% indicating that it is “Not Important.” Moreover, only 14% of respondents indicated that a common ecosystem was “Very Important.” Across iPad owners, the ecosystem is more important but only marginally so, with respondents that valued a common ecosystem up to 53% and 21% believing it is“Very Important.””

Record China sales for Apple’s iPhone 5 – FT.com

“Apple did not release comparable three-day sales figures for the iPhone 4S, the 5’s predecessor, which went on sale in January.”

47% of iPad mini sales to new customers, cannibalization concerns called ‘overblown’

“A new survey of iPad mini buyers has found that nearly half are new to the platform, suggesting the smaller form factor will help grow Apple’s market share in a big way.”

AAPL: Citi Cuts to Hold, Target to $575 on Rising iPhone, Tablet Competition – Tech Trader Daily – Barrons.com

“Yeung, Citing data gathered in a survey of smartphone and tablet computer purchase intentions, put together by his colleague, Citi’s software analyst Walter Pritchard, shows that Apple still has leadership in both smartphones and tablets, but that Samsung Electronics (005930KS) is “closing the gap” when it comes to purchase intentions, and that Apple runs the risk of seeing leadership eroded both because customers want larger screen sizes for phones and because it’s becoming harder overall for anyone to innovate in tablet computers.”

Apple says China iPhone 5 sales in first weekend top two million | Reuters

“Apple Inc sold more than 2 million of its new iPhone 5 in China during the three days after its launch there on Friday, marking China’s best-selling iPhone rollout ever, the company said late on Sunday.”

Apple downgraded to neutral by Citigroup – MarketWatch

“Citing research that shows “near-term supply-chain order cuts,” analyst Glen Yeung wrote that the cuts “bring into question the strength of iPhone 5,” as well as drawing attention to what he described as the “risks in the Apple story.” He also cut his price target on the stock to $575 from $675. “As such, we see the likelihood of any near-term rally as diminished,” he wrote. The downgrade came just as Apple reported that it sold more than 2 million iPhone 5 units in its launch weekend in China.”

Why negative interest rates are a bad idea, by Capital Economics | FT Alphaville

“If banks were unable to lend more to boost their profits, they might look for other ways to offset the cost of depositing money with the ECB. This could mean an increase in lending rates for existing borrowers. Chart 2 shows that there is some evidence that this has happened in Denmark”

IMF says Ireland should delay cuts if growth slows | Reuters

“The International Monetary Fund said Ireland could delay some of the budget cuts required under its bailout program if the country’s economy grows more slowly than expected next year.”

Nuevo récord de caída de líneas de teléfonos móviles en octubre | Economía | EL PAÍS

“La telefonía móvil sigue batiendo récords pero esta vez negativos. En octubre, se perdieron 486.183 líneas, convirtiéndose en la mayor caída mensual de la historia, superando el anterior listón de abril pasado, en el que se esfumaron 378.888 líneas”

L’Inde réduit ses prévisions de croissance annuelle, estimée à moins de 6 % | Fil Info – lesoir.be more from www.lesoir.be 

Gas Prices at the Pump Hit 2012 Low – MarketBeat – WSJ

“The national average pump price of regular gasoline fell 9.2 cents a gallon last week to $3.248 a gallon today, the lowest price since December 2011, AAA Daily Fuel Gauge reports.”

Meredith Whitney upgrades three financial stocks | Reuters

“Independent research analyst Meredith Whitney told clients on Monday that she has turned positive on financial stocks, upgrading Citigroup Inc, Bank of America Corp and Discover Financial Services to “buy” from “hold.”” 

Digital threat to Fed’s jobless target – FT.com

“The work of Brian Arthur, an academic at the Palo Alto Research Centre, is instructive here. He argues that since digitisation first started in 1995 it has exploded expontentially, performing an ever-greater proportion of economic functions. Indeed, he suggests that digital network accounts for 60-80 per cent of productivity gains.
Often, these swelling digital networks go ignored, for while voters can easily see pictures of rival Chinese factories – and complain – a cyber network is largely hidden. However, Arthur calculates that on current trends, the economic functions performed by this digital network will be equal to the physical economy by 2025; and while his calculation might be disputed by some, what is crystal clear is that this growth is displacing many human workers.”

Regulator sues JPMorgan over $3.6 billion in mortgage securities | Reuters

“The National Credit Union Administration sued JPMorgan Securities and Bear Stearns & Co on Monday over alleged misconduct in the sale of $3.6 billion in mortgage securities to credit unions that collapsed on losses from the securities.”

It’s not Twitter — this is just the way the news works now — Tech News and Analysis

“The way that inaccurate news reports about a mass shooting in Connecticut filtered out through social media has brought up many of the same criticisms as Hurricane Sandy — that social media isn’t an appropriate forum for journalism. But this is simply the way news works now.”

More Than Three in 10 in U.S. Put Off Treatment Due to Cost

“Thirty-two percent of Americans say they have had to put off medical care for themselves or their family in the past year due to the cost — the highest percentage since Gallup started tracking this annually in 2001. The percentage reporting they are putting treatment off is up significantly from the 19% found 12 years ago.”

Economists warn Carney it is a mistake to change Bank’s focus – Telegraph

“The Bank of England has been warned off rethinking its inflation target by one of its own former policy makers, ahead of new figures which are expected to show prices are climbing once more.”


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